The Business of Culture

Aalto University School of Business

Aalto University School of Business


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Who should attend

The program is designed for professionals working in arts and culture organizations in Nordic and Baltic countries. The applicant should be in a leadership position and highly motivated to take their skills to the next level.

The program is for dynamic experts who are eager to grow as leaders and are enthusiastic in embracing and living the business of culture. We are seeking both young and seasoned practitioners to stimulate cross-fertilization of ideas, insights, and experience.

About the course

Executive Program for Leaders in Arts and Culture

The cultural sector, like any other sector, is facing challenges because of social, economic, and technological trends and their impact on customer behavior and how the industry produces and presents creative work. The need for cooperation with networks and stakeholders and for setting joint targets will increase.

To strengthen the position of culture in society, leaders need skills and competencies to impact beyond their organization and the field itself. This new era calls for new business skills and a change in leadership mindsets.

The Business of Culture Program is an executive program for leaders from the Art and Culture sector in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The program is tailored to enrich and develop participants’ understanding of how effective leadership, business acumen, and networking can transform their organizations. It equips leaders and executives with strategies and tools to effectively advance their organizations.

BI Norwegian Business School is a co-operation partner of the program. The Nationalmuseum, The Royal Danish Theatre, and Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival are collaboration partners of the program.

The support of the Art Professionals plays a key role in ensuring lifelong learning in leadership and strengthening collaboration in the Art and Cultural field. Arts and Culture professionals are supported by the Saastamoinen Foundation, and the association Föreningen Konstsamfundet.

“The culture industries are growing fast in the Nordic and Baltic countries, as in the whole of Europe. This industry is creating new jobs while at the same time facing new demands and positive challenges. We need top leaders with top training for these posts. Consequently, we need high profile training for the future game changers.” Susanna Pettersson, Director General at Nationalmuseum.

In the recent past, the world has changed considerably, and so have art and culture organizations. It is becoming essential for leaders in this sector to have the right knowledge in order to make strategic decisions about how to respond to today’s needs and new ways of working.

Broaden your horizons – Experience the best and the latest expertise from international faculty and business leaders and from acclaimed art and culture programs across the world.

”This programme will change your way of thinking about cultural organizations and all the people working in them, but perhaps more importantly, it will impact your way of perceiving yourself and your role as a leader.”

“You might start the program feeling overwhelmed by the demands and pressure caused by radical changes in your business environment - but you come out with an empowered and enlightened mindset. You are not alone in your mission and passion for improving the position of creative industries in society, you have a network, you have power, you have tools, you have a voice and courage to use it."

“Business of Culture is a program that will benefit you immensely as a leader working in any aspect of the cultural sector. If you are willing to be open and vulnerable with the shortcomings we all face as leaders and boldy plunge yourself into participating in the class discussions the effect can be life-altering. Having completed this program I can truly say it has made me a better, more capable, and more knowledgeable CEO.”


Join the program to build your business acumen and contribute to finding unique ways for art and culture institutions to stay relevant and have a greater impact on society. Meet and network with other leaders and experts and explore new and innovative concepts.

  • Transform from expert to leader through a self-development process
  • Cultivate a mindset of change and innovation and develop an entrepreneurial attitude towards the business of culture
  • Build a stronger understanding of how to deploy organizational strengths and external networks to maximize creativity and collaborative outcomes within the community
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the world around us and the key factors impacting on society’s view of the purpose of our existence.

About Nationalmuseum

Nationalmuseum is Sweden’s largest art and design museum, and one of the country’s key institutions for collaboration in its field both in Sweden and abroad.

Nationalmuseum is a government institution that falls within the remit of the Swedish Ministry of Culture. The mission is to preserve the nation’s cultural heritage, provide knowledge and expertise, and promote public access to art. The core focus is on displaying, collecting, preserving and researching.

Contents and Schedule

The content of the program is divided into three themes. The first starts with a self-development process focusing on increasing self-awareness and strengthening the ability to lead and steer change in the workplace and beyond. The second theme develops business acumen in strategic management and planning and offers tools and frameworks for design thinking and creating a growth hacking mindset in the digital era. The third theme focuses on strengthening strategic relations to add value to your organization and the society around us. This last theme ends with a discussion of how arts and culture have the power to convey and inspire societal change.

The program will be delivered through three face-to-face modules and two self-paced online courses. Module days will include lectures, keynotes, discussions, and workshops. Interactive and reflective tools and methods will be used throughout the program to help thinking and renewal. Evenings are reserved for receptions to meet with arts and culture colleagues and network with peers from the program.

An coaching element is part of the program.

Coaching has proven to be a successful instrument for strengthening one’s capacity to deal with change. It can aid you in developing your own ability to create clarity, where there is often limited visibility regarding all issues at hand in any team or organization at large. Working with your own personal and professional development with an experienced coach also deepens your ability to work through conflicts, paradoxes, and dilemmas in order to find new solutions and move ahead. In coaching sessions, you will be gently challenged to see patterns in your own behavior and identify ranges of available strategies for moving ahead and further into your full potential.

Program Structure

  • Nordic networking experienceModules in Denmark, Finland, and Norway with receptions to meet colleagues.
  • Blended learning modulesIntensive onsite and online learning modules offering experiental learning and reflective opportunities
  • Self-development processGrowing as a leader with a tailor-made self-development journey and a valuable coaching process.

Program Schedule

CoPassionate Leadership

Copenhagen, Denmark

This module takes a deep dive into leading self, leading others, and leading change. The focus will be on developing self-awareness and learning how to lead and implement change in your organizations. This module will also introduce the self-development/activation process which will continue throughout the entire program.

Leading self:

  • Increased self awareness, understanding the impact of my leadership style on the mindset
  • Exploring Emotional Intelligence Cognitive decision making
  • The impact of your leadership style on the results of your organization

Leading change

  • Winning leaders and organisations
  • Leading change and transformation
  • Building changeable and resilient teams
  • Mobilizing networks and other stakeholders for societal impact

Design Thinking

Design Thinking, Impactful Innovation through Design, is a cost-effective and flexible online course offering a concise overview of Design Thinking. It walks you through the human-centric process of Design Thinking and gives you the best tools for all phases.


  • Introduction to Design Thinking
  • Empathy
  • Framing the problem
  • Ideation
  • Prototyping & testing
  • Taking forth concepts/wrap-up of the module

Includes a workbook to practice and apply on your own real business challenges.

Fundamentals of Accounting

The Fundamentals of Accounting online course provides participants with comprehensive basic skills in the areas of financial and management accounting.


  • Using accounting data and the principles of accounting
  • Forming an overall picture of financial performance
  • Key financial indicators and their interpretation
  • Cost accounting and allocation of costs
  • Implementation of strategy by means of goal-oriented management
  • Budgeting as a means of financial and business management
  • Calculations in support of strategic decision-making

Includes exercises which enable you to evaluate your mastery of each theme area.

Distinctive Business

This module incorporates a blend of tools and strategies to develop a unique art and culture business. The themes will challenge your current leadership mindset and managerial skills, while introducing you to innovative concepts and trends.

  • Growth Hacking with Lean Creation
  • Creating and leading growth hacking mindset
  • Facilitating change towards a lean+design+agile organization
  • Management Control and Decision-Making
  • Understanding your cost structure and drivers
  • Goals setting and targeting with key performance indicators
  • Leading accountability within the organization
  • Digital Strategy and Leadership
  • Defining digital leadership in the sector
  • Digital technologies, business models and strategies
  • How to create and capture value through digital platforms
  • Governance for digital capabilities

Collective Consciousness

Strengthening relations internally and externally adds value to your organization and the society around us. We will focus on contracting choices, efficiency, and rationalities behind them, and finally, how all this relates to policy and political relations and has an impact on societies.

  • Identifying strategic relations
  • Individual, project, and organizational perspectives
  • Methods for building and organizing strategic relations
  • Defining the boundaries of your organization
  • Contracting hazards in the cultural sector
  • Audience and community engagement
  • Exclusive keynote: Thought leadership of Arts and Culture, Director General Susanna Pettersson, Nationalmuseum
  • Program wrapping up


Pekka Mattila

Dr. Pekka Mattila serves as a Professor of Practice at the Aalto University School of Business. He works frequently with both European and Asian executive audiences on themes of strategic management and agility, strategy co-creation, business model innovation, executive leadership, top team dynam...

Terje Gaustad

Dr. Terje Gaustad is Adjunct Associate Professor at the BI Norwegian Business School. He holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the BI Norwegian Business School and an M.A. in Communication Management from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. His profe...

Teemu Malmi

Teemu Malmi is Professor of Accounting at Aalto University School of Business. He specializes in managerial control systems, strategy implementation and cost, and profitability accounting. Professor Malmi has served as a consultant to a large number of companies from different industries, e.g. C...

Ben Nothnagel

Ben Nothnagel is a Senior Advisor at Aalto University Executive Education and has worked with Aalto EE for over 20 years specializing in developing the leadership skills of executives who are part of ambitious businesses. Nothnagel's focus is on encouraging individuals and organizations to excel...

Risto Sarvas

Adjunct Professor (docent), Computer Science, Aalto SCI. Risto Sarvas lives a triple-life as a designer, lecturer, and researcher. The common denominator between these three roles is his endless enthusiasm to figure out how technology and society are intertwined: as a culture, in politics, in bu...

Johan Magnusson

Johan Magnusson is Associate Professor at the Department of Applied IT, University of Gothenburg, head of the Informatics division and director of SCDI Gothenburg. He earned his PhD in Business Administration (Accounting) at Gothenburg University in 2012 following his Licentiate degree in Informa...

Susanna Pettersson

DDr. Susanna Pettersson, Director General at Nationalmuseum, Sweden, is an art historian specializing in museum history and collection studies. Before moving to Stockholm she worked as Director of the Ateneum Art Museum, Finnish National Gallery. Dr. Pettersson has worked for more than twenty ye...

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The Business of Culture at Aalto University School of Business

From  EUR 15 700$18,952
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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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